Father's Day

Father's Day is a day that is to represent the best that fathers or father figures like myself represent. Since I have no biological children of my own or sons, I often feel left out. However, my wonderful girlfriend/partner of 10 years always gives me a Father's Day card, as she acknowledges all the boys, adolescents and men that I've mentored over 20 years "doing men's work". Providing individual, and group therapy for adolescent boys and men over all these years has been very healing for not only the boys and men but also for me as well. This is why I started in this specific area of therapy, i.e., to heal my childhood wounds from my father and family of origin; however, over the last several years, the focus has been exclusively for the men and boys who need this healing far more than I do. It's a gift to be sufficiently well healed to devote my time and energy to them.

Another way that I have helped these boys and men has been through almost 20 years of involvement with a powerful organization, the Mankind Project which is an initiation rites of passage weekend that helps men feel good about being men. There are ongoing groups after the weekend experience. Likewise, there is an equivalent weekend for boys(11-17).

These boys become "J-men" and continue with ongoing support groups lead by Adult men.

J-men means that they are no longer boys, nor are they adult men yet. Many men like me serve as mentors to boys and adult men. These men are father figures even without the benefit of being biological fathers.

The commitment of biological fathers to raising healthy, loving; responsible sons and citizens or mentors, like myself or others, who devote their time and energy to being role models to boys and adolescents is one of the most overlooked aspects of Father's Day. What is lost is the true essence of this day, instead of the commercialism of department sales or father day cards with pictures of fishing rods and nature scenes. Honoring men "who step up" to make a real difference in the lives of young boys and men--whether biolgical fathers or father figures/mentors-- is what Father's Day should really represent and honor!

©2009, Michael Shaffran

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Mike Shaffran is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Psychotherapist with over 30 years experience in the mental health profession. He's worked most of his time in outpatient Psychiatric clinics where he has provided individual, couples/marital, family and group therapy. He is trained in multiple therapies, including: Psycho-dynamic, Gestalt,Structural-Strategic Family, Solution focused, Brief Therapy, and other methods. He is trained in EMDR ( a type of therapy for PTSD), hypnosis, meditation and guided imagery also. Mike is committed to ongoing seminars, workshops and trainings to keep current with the latest therapy to provide the best services possible to his clients. www.sanluisobispotherapy.com or E-Mail

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